Stephen Diez, the “Spanish” infiltrator to Canada and the ATP Cup

You will face Canada ATP Cup 2021 With the following team: Denis Shapovalov, Milos Raonic, Peter Polanski and W. Stephen Diez. Since the first three have already been seen and read multiple times, today we’re going to talk about the last one, a guy who keeps an odd story in his bag. As the song says Stephen Diez (Toronto, 1991) He has Broken heart between Canada s Spain. Being born in one place and growing up in a different place is usually a shared journey within the ring, and that will be in the DNA of the professional tennis player who needs to always be a citizen of the world.

“I was born in Toronto, even though my parents are both Spanish,” Stephen explained in an exclusive interview. Breaking point. My grandparents went to live in Canada to work when my mother was three years old, while my father, who is 18, went to Canada to make a living. And there they met, so my brothers and I were born there, “he summarizes, explaining his roots. But years passed and a sentence in the family happened:Like Spain anywhere“.

When I was six years old, my parents returned to Spain, to Malaga, where I stayed until I was 11 years old. At that time she moved to Madrid for a year and a half, where she suffered a rather serious injury. Once I recovered, I got a scholarship from the Catalan Tennis Federation, so I spent the next six years in Cornella, “Stephen adds about his adolescence, before he has to make the most important decision.”When I came of age, the Canadian Confederation offered to change my nationality and I accepted the contract. At that time I remember that Niko Almagro was number 10 in the world and could not play the Davis Cup due to the enormous competition in Spain, so the most logical thing was to change, even though I kept the passport. “

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Diez made the decision that over time was good for him, competition options prevailed over Canada to choose the red and white flag of the maple leaf. Of course, to this day, his family is still divided between two countries. With the exception of two uncles and a few cousins ​​who are still in Canada, the rest of my family are here. Until I turned eighteen, I represented Spain in all national and international competitions, until I was eighteen years old, I changed my knowledge. , I can no longer continue in the Catalan Federation, so I started working with Galo Blanco and Fernando Vicente and currently with Marcus Roy. As an anecdote, I will tell you that in some tournaments they are still wrong and that they put the Spanish flag in the box, ”the 29-year-old commented sympathetically.

In January 2020, the long-awaited bonus arrived, the opportunity to compete in the ATP Cup as a team featuring the best players in Canada. “It was amazing, for me and my coach,” he recalls, the current 178th in the ranking. “It was so fun, we had unforgettable feelings. Luckily we have Denise and Felix who are the future of the sport, And they are also beautiful people. They are two great players, this week we really enjoyed reaching the quarter-finals On the verge of death. The fact that you are on the bench, almost at the foot of the track, makes you live everything so much more, the tension doubles. Economically it was also a big help for me, so I’m happy to repeat the experience in 2021. This year neither Felix nor Vasek Posipisil will be in the team, so if something happens to Dennis or Milos I’ll be next on the list. But let’s hope nothing happens to them, “he confirms with a laugh.

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A separate discussion deserves the great work required to bring Shapovalov, Alyasim and Andresco together into the same generation. “I’ve been in the Canadian Confederation for 11 years and I remember at that time they actually did Opening doors to welcome people from all over the worldThey tried to catch up with French and Spanish coaches, copying things from leagues with more than a dozen players on the top 100 roster. They invested a lot of money to improve the level of track training and office work. Felix and Bianca trained at the union, but Dennis trained abroad with his mother, ”explains Diez.

Conversation progresses and salsa question arrives. Do you feel more Spanish or Canadian? “The truth is, my situation is very strange. My hometown is Canada, although I learned both languages ​​at the same time. My parents always spoke to us in Spanish, but when we got back to Spain they started talking to us in English, so we don’t forget. Today it is a dried perfume, Depending on the day, my mum often insists I never leave the English aside, although I have to use it every week because of my profession. In my opinion, I might feel more Spanish, but in terms of punctuality and professionalism, I might be more Canadian.. As for patriotism, my heart is divided, although if I play the World Cup, I want Spain to win it, that’s without a doubt. And in the food there is no debate, as you do not eat here anywhere, “says the fifth-best Canadian in the ATP.

In regards to his career, Stephen is still struggling to climb the ranks and reach a distinguished position in the rankings, although it is not an easy feat. “As a young man I had a great career, even though I couldn’t play Grand Slam Juniors, the Spanish mindset said that once the competition started at 16, they had to go to satellites and futures. At that point, I got stuck in. A lot of help from the Catalan federation, while in my early years as a professional I received a lot of support from the Canadian Confederation, and I am very grateful to both of them. Then I came up, although certainly not as much as many expected. Currently I keep fighting, looking for a dream for any tennis player. and he Reach the top 100 and be in the big events. There are people who got it before and others who got it later; I’ll keep trying until my last day, “he says firmly.

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The day he was away from playing against Nadal

From February 1-5, we will see Canada compete in the ATP Cup and hopefully Stephen Diez can get onto the right track, even though his goals go far beyond performing well in this tournament. “In tennis, one of my main goals is to reach the top 100, or at least get as close as possible. If I don’t get it this year, then next year, I will have it between my eyebrows. If I really manage to win the ATP title, for example, it will be That’s really colossal. Last year, she stayed a group and a half away from playing Rafa Nadal at Roland GarrosBut I couldn’t win that match. Hope I get a chance soon to take on some of the best players in the world. Also, winning the Davis Cup with Canada would be unbelievable, I love team competitions and something like that would be unique, “he concludes.

Amber Cross

"Music buff. Unapologetic problem solver. Organizer. Social media maven. Web nerd. Incurable reader."

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